Financial boost for Warriors before SA showdown

NATIONAL HEROES… The Brave Warriors starting 11 that beat Tunisia on Tuesday. Photo: Helge Schütz

The Brave Warriors have received a financial boost of N$300 000 and assurances of more funds if they reach the second round following their historic victory against Tunisia on Tuesday.

Namibia Football Association president Robert Shimooshili and PST Bet chief executive Steve Hamunyela pledged N$150 000 each to the Brave Warriors when they visited the team at their training headquarters on Wednesday.

“The purpose of coming here is to congratulate you the players, the coaching staff and everybody involved for an excellent job – well done, you did very well and thank you very much,” Shimooshili said.

“Trust yourself and believe in yourself – you are from the Land of the Brave and that’s why the Namibian people have named you the Brave Warriors. A warrior is a fighter and you showed us the characteristics of a fighter, so keep up the good work and be assured that we the leadership are behind you – we respect and love you, we trust you and we believe in you,” he added.

“As a token of appreciation for what you have done, I will pledge N$150 000 for you to share, and I’m challenging the Namibian people to do the same,” he said.

Shimooshili said the players and support staff will also receive their appearance fees without delay.

“Regarding the payment related to the Tunisia game, I have seen your communication with the team manager, and you will receive your due without delay,” he said.

“Equally, I saw some kind of proposal related to the next round from the team, and we will honour that proposal, there’s no negotiation about it, you will get what you want, so that you only have to focus on doing your job.

“The Namibian people love you, they are behind you and supporting you, so you need some incentive and we have to start leading by example, so I would like to call on Namibia’s business community and even individual Namibians to come forward to support our team,” he said.

Hamunyela matched Shimooshili’s donation by pledging N$150 000 to the team.

“There’s something special about the Brave Warriors that the world doesn’t know about. Coming here to the Ivory Coast to support the team, we have seen the energy and the performance that the team put up. We were there screaming, it was amazing, and we decided that we need to encourage the boys even more,” he said.

“After what they did to Tunisia, they deserve better and that’s why PST Bet came on board with a N$150 000 donation for the whole team.”

Hamunyela said he believed in the team and had no doubt that they would beat South Africa. “We will definitely win the game, we are behind the team. We will make sure that we have more supporters this time, hopefully more Namibians are coming and definitely we will win.

“To the Namibian people, please come on board and let’s support the team,” he said. With Namibia’s shock victory against Tunisia they now stand a great chance to make the knockout stages of the competition and even a draw could put them through to the last 16.

Namibia and Mali currently lead Group E with three points each, while Tunisia and South Africa are both on zero.

The top two teams in each group will qualify for the Round of 16, as well as the four best third-placed teams, so although nothing is clear-cut yet, a draw will put Namibia in a strong position to go through.

EMOTIONALLY DRAINED

Brave Warriors coach Collin Benjamin, meanwhile, said the players were emotionally drained after the Tunisia victory.

“The game on Tuesday was huge – the guys did us proud, they really went full out, and the victory was well-deserved if you look at the chances that we created in the first as well as the second half. At the same time, there was a lot of emotion, carrying that tag of never having won at Afcon, and you can imagine that when you finally achieve it, you basically go into a slump because of all the pent-up energy and emotions,” he said.

“So now, we have to try and manage that but I know that our players are professional and they know that there is a very difficult game ahead of them on Sunday against our big brothers, South Africa. It’s not going to be easy, so for us it’s back to the training ground, we have put Tunisia behind us, and now we are fully focussed on the South African game.”

Benjamin said a few players had taken knocks against Tunisia, but that they should all be ready for Sunday’s match.

“Two or three players took some knocks against Tunisia, so we have to manage that, but I think the guys are getting their minds ready and focussed. Now it’s basically just our video analysis, to see what we did good in that match, and what we didn’t do so well, to try and learn from those mistakes,” he said.

“We are convinced that by tomorrow, we will have everybody fully on board, including the ones that got the knocks, and then we will put all our attention and thoughts into the South Africa game, which is really going to be a difficult one awaiting us on Sunday,” he said.

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